The Harsh Reality of Being a Home Daycare Provider

*Disclaimer: I am writing this post to tell my story. It is raw and it is real but written with love and will hopefully help others understand what daycare providers go through on the daily.*

Here is how I got started:

After my second child was born, my husband and I decided that I should leave my job of over 10 years. 

I worked in the insurance field and had built a career with this company and it was really the only job I ever knew as a young adult. For the most part, I enjoyed it but since we had 2 kids under the age of 2 and with our oldest having had special medical needs it only made sense for me to leave my job, stay home for a few years and raise the girls until they entered Pre-K or Kindergarten.  

Needless to say, on my last day of work I was excited but nervous about what the future was about to bring me. I am not the type of person that can sit at home, be a mommy 100%, and not make any type of financial contribution to my household. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, so leaving a job and no longer receiving a paycheck was bothersome to me. 

The first year that I stayed home, I took on the task of not only raising my girls but raising another child that needed a temporary home for a little over a year. Of course, I did this free of charge and since I was raising an almost 2-year-old, a 3-month-old and a 3 week old, I was not really bothered with not making extra money because, to be honest, I was exhausted! I was actually more than exhausted, I was over the top fucking exhausted! 

Less than 1 week after this child left our home, my husband looked at me and said, “You should start a home daycare”. I cannot lie, but I got mad. If I remember correctly I replied with something similar to, “Are you fucking kidding me?”. I was not mentally ready to take care of more kids that were not my kids. Taking care of my own kids was hard enough but taking care of other people’s children would be even harder. 

A week later, my husband won. I completed the necessary paperwork, scheduled the required class and talked myself into starting a home daycare. I did enjoy working with kids and I knew that I wanted to contribute to the finances of my household. I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I didn’t. 

For the next 10 years, I ran a pretty successful home daycare. 95% of my parents were happy with how I operated my daycare and the goals I set for their children. Quite honestly you cannot make everyone happy but I think I did pretty good. 

Now that you know how I started my daycare, here is where it gets real and raw! I want to share with you the harsh reality of being a home daycare provider. When you read this, try and read it with an open mind and appreciate how fucking hard the people that you leave your children with work. 

  • Take-Home Pay– My regular weekly rate for each child was $150. I normally greeted children at my door at around 6:30 am and told them good-bye at around 4:30 pm. That is a total of 10 hours which equals out to around $3 an hour. This is around what waiters and waitresses are paid but I didn’t get the luxury of receiving tips. In addition, you have to calculate the cost of cleaning supplies, daily activity supplies, and food. With that said, when a daycare provider quotes you the cost of what the weekly childcare rate is for your child, try and not flinch but have an understanding. 
  • Asshole Parents– It’s never fun to deal with asshole parents. Of course, as a business owner, you have to use kid gloves when you deal with them because they basically have power over your weekly paycheck and they could easily not pay you and remove their child from your care. I remember one Asshole Parent that thankfully eventually fired me because she felt like I was overstepping my boundaries by suggesting to her that her child might be shitting bricks because he was constipated and may need to drink the prune juice. Another Asshole Parent always got away with paying at the end of the week. In the end, she decided to quit and never paid me for the last week that I had her child. I called her, texted her and emailed her to collect my money but she chose to put me on block. Of course, a year later I ran into her at Walmart and she completely acted like everything was normal. She ended up marrying a rich local doctor. Maybe I should send her another balance due bill.
  • Naptime Expectations– Some parents, especially the new ones, always expected me to rock their child to sleep when it was naptime. I never told them that I would and I never told them I wouldn’t but if you can guess, I didn’t. When you have 6 kids in your care, unless your child is a newborn or does not feel well, your child is not going to get rocked to sleep. At times, parents could not understand that their child was not the only child in my care and all of the kids were golden not just theirs. 
  • Shit– You probably know where this is going. When you are a daycare provider you literally will have to deal with a lot of shit. I have had shit on my walls, my forearms, my pants, my floor, in between my nails and more. There was so much shit that I used to have to deal with that I would always ask parents that arrived in the afternoon if my house smelled like shit because you become accustomed to the smell that you do not notice that your house smells like a dirty shit diaper. 
  • Time Off– This is something that daycare providers really do not always get. There are providers that allow themselves a certain number of days off during the year but as a provider, you begin to care about the time that your parents are missing from work, along with the inconvenience and you find yourself working while you are sick and not taking off for special occasions that pertain to your children. 
  • Late Pay– It didn’t take me long to learn that the weekly daycare bill was not the priority of a lot of families. There were more times than not that I would have to remind parents that their daycare bill was due. Oftentimes parents would pick their child up on Friday, avoid small talk and leave as quickly as possible knowing the entire time they were not going to pay until the following week. I remember one time that a family came to pick their child up on a Friday. They sent their older child into my home to pick up the child in my care. Obviously, the kid didn’t have the payment that was due and they knew this. I never understood why parents thought that it was okay to pay me late because if their employer tried to pay them late, there would be a fucking war. How often have you had your paycheck bounce? 
  • They Don’t Always Care– Whenever parents would pick their kids up, I made sure, to be honest with them on how their child’s day went. I didn’t paint a picture of rainbows and butterflies. I addressed areas that they did well in but I also addressed areas that they needed to help their child focus on so they would become better humans. Too often, parents were too tired from work to listen. I was also tired when the parents picked their kids up. Keep in mind, my working hours were much longer than theirs and having to deal with little emotions all day could be exhausting. I simply wanted the very best for their kids and genuinely wanted to help them grow as little humans. 
  • Memory Loss– I never understood how, even after parents were reminded, they would forget to bring much-needed items for their child. Oftentimes they would forget the diapers and wipes when it was time to replenish them. I had to steal and borrow from other parents which wasn’t fair.
  • Disrespect My Rules (in front of their kids)– In order to keep my household under control and in order to help raise good humans I had rules for each child that I took care of. They were simple rules such as sitting down while you eat, no running, no standing on my furniture, no screaming and other normal rules that are practiced in most households. Unfortunately, I had a few parents that would not make their kids mind my rules when they were in their presence. I remember when a parent would drop off their child or pick their child up, hand them a muffin and allow them to walk all over my house while fucking crumbs dropped all over my floor. I also had a parent or two that let their child stand on my couch because they didn’t want to bother telling them no or they just didn’t care. 
  • Lack of Support– For every child in my care, my ultimate goal was to not only protect them and make them feel as if they were at their second home while their parents worked but to also help them grow and develop. Without traumatizing the child, I have been successful at helping little ones become weaned off of their pacifier that they were once addicted to along with having a child accept that they can only have their special ‘blankie’ during nap time. The kids in my care understood and accepted the developmental growth that I was encouraging them to have but unfortunately, their parents didn’t always support me. I had kids that were trained to only have their pacifier during nap time but sadly, once their mom walked through the door, she would pop that sucker in their mouth before they could even ask for it. I had one mom utter underneath her breath that she thought it was too early to attempt to wean her 18-month-old off of the pacifier during non-naptime hours. I ignored her, respected her opinion while in her home, but I was not too keen on having an 18-month-old pacifier addicted child running around my house in panic mode when she misplaced her pacifier. 
  • Extended Family- When you are a childcare provider, you should only have to deal with the child’s parents or caregivers. The reality is, you have to deal with their grandparents, the dad that sees them twice a year and other extended family members that pick them up on occasion. All of these extended family members have opinions, unwarranted advice and always seemed to like to talk shit about the parents of the kids. 

I loved working as a home daycare provider. All of the kids that came through my door held and currently hold a special place in my heart. I genuinely love every single one of them and am lucky enough to continue relationships with a few of them. 

When you have a child in your home 5 days a week you become attached to them, you become their protector and you want to see them grow and develop into perfect little humans. With that said, it’s important for the parents and caregivers of these children to have a full of understanding of the harsh reality of what it’s like to be a home daycare provider. We are more than babysitters, we work hard and only want the best for your sweet kids. 

You may also enjoy these posts:

How to Start an In-Home Daycare

Why I Stopped Being a Home Daycare Provider

10 Ways You Can Help Your Child’s Home Daycare Provider

What Not to Do When You Drop Your Child Off at Daycare

The Secret to Asking for your Paycheck in Home Daycare

Questions to Ask A Daycare Provider Before Hiring Them

Home daycare providers, just like school teachers, work very hard to protect and care for your children. With that said, it's important to fully understand what they do through on a daily basis while your kids are in their care.

Home daycare providers, just like school teachers, work very hard to protect and care for your children. With that said, it's important to fully understand what they do through on a daily basis while your kids are in their care.

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